Party Discipline and Pork Barrel Politics

28 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2005 Last revised: 23 Aug 2010

See all articles by Gene M. Grossman

Gene M. Grossman

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2005

Abstract

Polities differ in the extent to which political parties can pre-commit to carry out promised policy actions if they take power. Commitment problems may arise due to a divergence between the ex ante incentives facing national parties that seek to capture control of the legislature and the ex post incentives facing individual legislators, whose interests may be more parochial. We study how differences in %u201Cparty discipline%u201D shape fiscal policy choices. In particular, we examine the determinants of national spending on local public goods in a three-stage game of campaign rhetoric, voting, and legislative decision-making. We find that the rhetoric and reality of pork-barrel spending, and also the efficiency of the spending regime, bear a non-monotonic relationship to the degree ofparty discipline.

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Gene M. and Helpman, Elhanan, Party Discipline and Pork Barrel Politics (June 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11396. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=741545

Gene M. Grossman (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

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Elhanan Helpman

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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